Monday, August 1, 2016

One for the Docs

By Pascal Dennis

Doctors are taking a lot of heat these days. Medical mishaps are front page news. A demanding & vocal public no longer accepts substandard patient safety & quality results.

The profession and industry are being held to the same demanding standards as industries like automotive, aerospace and consumer goods. Moreover, physicians are frequently portrayed as the bad guys, the ones holding the organization back.

Much of my personal practice entails coaching senior healthcare leaders, many of them physicians.


The profession is in the midst of great change. Used to be, most docs worked for themselves. Now most docs work for large organizations, and the trend will only accelerate.

Are physicians used to working in teams in complex value streams in large organizations? Do they learn the principles of production physics and system dynamics that govern such value streams?

Does medical school include instruction in the Toyota Production System or in management systems at all, the countermeasures to the daunting Safety, Quality, Delivery and Cost problems hospitals face?

The healing arts entail a demanding apprenticeship. My late father-in-law, the great Dr Robert Guselle, ran Ontario’s biggest clinic. Bob was an intuitive Lean thinker, and early on grasped the promise Toyota methods entailed for healthcare.

But he was a realist too. “I spent ten years in the hermetically sealed tube called medical school. I learned to be imperious and infallible. Changing that mindset is difficult…”

And yet, that’s what we’re beginning to see in a growing number of major hospitals – physician-leaders changing and deepening their mental models and management style, and opening up to learning and proven methods from very different industries.

So here’s a deep bow to the physician-leaders who are spear-heading heart-felt transformation in major hospitals around the world.

You all don`t have to do this. It`s heavy lifting, it’s humbling and sometimes hurts. (You could go to the golf course, cottage, fishing hole…)

I`m lucky enough to work with some of you.

In my mind you walk through porticoes of honor.

Best regards,

Pascal


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